Temporary Staffing Boon to Workers, Employers, HRO Buyers and “Smart” HRO Providers

I read with interest several recent articles, including from USA Today, which focused on hiring temporary workers. In one of these pieces, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that temporary staffing agencies found slots for 52,000 additional temporary workers in November 2009, the most since 2004. In another, experts predict that temporary workers could constitute up to a quarter of the workforce in a few years. While I think we’d be hard pressed to find 25 percent of our workforce comprised of contingent labor, as companies must build their core with loyal employees who feel they have a stake in the business, rather than just a paycheck for an unknown period of time, there is very real value for all parties in the temporary staffing equation.

Temporary workers are given the opportunity to showcase their talents, capabilities, drive and commitment to employers, which may lead to permanent employment status as economic fears ease.

Employers that leverage temporary workers – factory workers, office personnel and even professionals such as engineers and physicians – can reduce their hiring risk by gaining access to staff when and as needed, and for only as long as needed.

Temporary staff are typically placed by temporary staffing agencies, and their volume of placements is increasing, per the article cited above. But smart HRO and pure-play RPO providers can gain a piece of this pie, and assist their clients – existing and prospective – by offering temporary staffing services. A prime example is that of the Contingent Workforce Outsourcing Group of KellyOCG, which on November 18 was awarded by BP a multi-year global outsourced managed service provider contract. While specific details were not released, it is expected to be one of the largest such contracts in terms of size, scope and geographic reach for temporary labor.

I do believe the volume of available temporary jobs will grow for the short-term, and continue to be a portion of the overall staffing model. But I also believe that once businesses improve their balance sheets, hiring of permanent workers will return to at least somewhat “normal” levels. Thus, my recommendation for HRO and pure-play RPO providers who do not currently offer temporary staffing services is, re-think your strategy now! Doing so will not only help enhance your bottom line, but enable you to deliver a highly important additional service to existing and prospective clients.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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